Dec 22. The Christmas Truce seen through French eyes.

Letter from Léon Pothie, Christmas 1914
Léon Pothie served in the French army on the Western Front in the First World War. Among the many letters that his family still have is a particularly moving account of the fraternization between French and German soldiers at Christmas 1914 (the Christmas Truce). Pothie describes how the soldiers sang and exchanged cigars and sweets and he comments that: “it was Christmas for us and for them too” (C’était noël pour nous et pour eux aussi). He concludes by observing that “War is funny. In a few hours we will be shooting at each other!” (C’est drôle la guerre dans quelques heures on tirera les uns sur les autres!).
Léon Pothie ‘died for France’ on the 14th of 1916 at Tahure (Marne). His grand-daughter, Mme Marie-Thérèse Duval, shared his story and made his Christmas letter available under a CC BY-SA licence. To read the original story (in French) and see the rest of the letter, visit the Europeana 1914-1918 site.

This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


8,000 and counting

The Europeana 1914-1918 collection now has over 8,000 live stories, contributed by members of the public from across the world! All the stories and accompanying images can be explored for free at http://europeana1914-1918.eu.

Here is an extract from the 8001st story to go live:

Joseph Lee, No 50042/1023907 Dublin
By Peter Lee, http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/14008

Joseph Lee in Bangalore, India prior to WW1 
By Peter Lee  CC BY-SA
My Grandfather, Joseph Lee was born in Chapelizod, Co Dublin in 1886. Orphaned at a young age he served an apprenticeship as a shoeing smith with the Donnelly family of Portmarnock.
In March 1908, Joseph joined the Royal Field Artillery of the British Army. He served in India from 1909 until the outbreak of war in 1914, when as part of the 7th Meerut Division, Indian Expedition Force, he was sent to France/Flanders. Here, The 7th Meerut fought in the battles of La Bassee, Messines, Armentieres, Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge, Festubert and Loos.
Then in the early 1916 Joseph and the 7th Meerut were sent to Mesopotamia.
To read the rest of the story and see what happend to Joseph, go to http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/14008.